Wiam I. Hussein, MD; Ralph Green, MD; Donald W. Jacobsen, PhD; Charles Faiman, MD
Hyperhomocysteinemia is an independent risk factor for coronary, peripheral, and cerebrovascular disease. Elevated plasma homocysteine levels were described in a preliminary report on primary hypothyroidism.
To determine whether restoration of euthyroidism by L-thyroxine replacement therapy would reduce or normalize plasma homocysteine levels.
Prospective cohort study.
Outpatient endocrinology department of a tertiary center.
14 patients (10 women and 4 men; 25 to 77 years of age): 4 with newly diagnosed chronic (Hashimoto) hypothyroidism and 10 who had been rendered acutely hypothyroid (thyroid-stimulating hormone levelÂ >Â 25 mU/L) by total thyroidectomy for thyroid carcinoma.
Total plasma homocysteine levels were measured at baseline and 3 to 9 months later, after euthyroidism had been attained by L-thyroxine replacement therapy.
Median baseline plasma homocysteine levels in both sexes (women, 11.65 Âµmol/L [range, 7.2 to 26.5 Âµmol/L]; men, 15.1 Âµmol/L [range, 14.1 to 16.3 Âµmol/L]) were higher (PÂ =Â 0.002) than those in healthy female (nÂ =Â 35) and male (nÂ =Â 36) volunteers (women, 7.52 Âµmol/L [range, 4.3 to 14.0 Âµmol/L]; men, 8.72 Âµmol/L [range, 5.94 to 14.98 Âµmol/L]). Eight patients (57%) had baseline plasma homocysteine levels that exceeded the upper limit of sex-specific reference ranges. Upon attainment of euthyroidism, all patients had a diminution in plasma homocysteine levels. The median overall change of âˆ’5.5 Âµmol/L (range, âˆ’15.4 to âˆ’1.8 Âµmol/L) corresponds to a difference of âˆ’44% (range, âˆ’58% to âˆ’13%) (PÂ <Â 0.001). Homocysteine levels returned to normal in 7 of the 8 patients with elevated pretreatment values.
Hypothyroidism may be a treatable cause of hyperhomocysteinemia, and elevated plasma homocysteine levels may be an independent risk factor for the accelerated atherosclerosis seen in primary hypothyroidism.
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Hussein WI, Green R, Jacobsen DW, Faiman C. Normalization of Hyperhomocysteinemia with L-thyroxine in Hypothyroidism. Ann Intern Med. 1999;131:348-351. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-131-5-199909070-00005
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1999;131(5):348-351.
Endocrine and Metabolism, Thyroid Disorders.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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